Forum: Midget B
Topic: Midget B's Identity
started by: Ken Hackler

Posted by Ken Hackler on Jun. 29 2004,9:31

Edwin Layton (Pacific Fleet Intelligence Officer) talked about Midget B in his testimony before the various Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings.  He never mentioned any personal items removed from the boat, nor did he address the issue of identification in any way.  That was not an issue during the war.  They were interested in collecting materials that may have had some intelligence value.

Burl Burlingame wrote an article for the newspaper (< Burlingame Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper article >) following the discovery of Midget A, in which he says that a piece of Lieutenant Iwasa’s uniform was recovered from Midget B and returned to Iwasa’s family after the war.  Burlingame says the piece of uniform is now on display at the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan.

If a piece of a uniform had been found inside Midget B with the rank insignia of an IJN Lieutenant on it there would never have been any doubt about the identity of Midget B.  There was only one Lieutenant in the Special Attack Force, so that would be very unique and specific as far as the identity of the owner.

As a matter of interest, Layton did know later on that five 2-man midget submarines were involved, because he referred to them in his testimony.  He apparently knew about it through Japanese press reports that glorified the men who died.  If in fact he read these press reports, he also knew their names and ranks, and would surely have known that LT Iwasa was the only Lieutenant in the Special Attack Force.  Layton would have known the identity of the man in Midget B had anything been found that had any identifying marks, such as a uniform or rank insignia.

Yet for all these years, there has been doubt about the identity of the various midget submarines when they were located or recovered.  Why is that?

The way to solve this is to visit the Yasukuni Shrine and actually look at the item in question.  I would dearly love for this piece of uniform to exist, and for it to have the rank insignia of an Imperial Japanese Navy Lieutenant on the sleeve.  That would answer the identity question once and for all, and bring us one step closer to identifying the remaining midget submarines.  

However, due to Burlingame’s penchant for printing rumor or passing along something he heard but never properly researched, this information needs to be verified before it can be accepted.  

Anyone planning a trip to Tokyo in the near future?

Posted by David Aiken on Jun. 29 2004,10:16
Aloha Ken,
POW #1 Ensign Sakamaki viewed a Japanese officer rank insignia [on a desk?] while in Colonel Fielder's G-2 intelligence office during interrogation. Sakamaki surmised at that point that it belonged to Lieutenant Iwasa and wrote this in his autobiography. That nugget of info has often been 'made' into 'fact' by several authors. Alas, it could have been part of Lieutent Iida's uniform or other such recovery. One can not make the same error as Sakamaki.

The officer rank insignia on fatigue/flight uniforms and on dress uniforms are the same, while enlisted ratings are different...and also showed what job the enlisted person had.

Hope this helps,
Posted by Ken Hackler on Jun. 29 2004,11:03

At the moment any tidbit of information would help in the sense that it would give us something to work with, even if only to dispel rumors.
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